The 4 Playoff teams will be ...
Don’t bother watching the selection show at noon Sunday. I’ve got your Playoff field right here.
Mark it down. Write it in stone.
Just kidding. Don’t do that. I’ve been wrong before and if my track record suggests anything, I’ll be wrong again.
And before I continue, let me preface what I’m about to say by adding that this is what I believe the selection committee will do. It’s not my opinion of who the 4 best teams in the country are, nor is it the matchups I most want to see. I witnessed Alabama-Georgia in Atlanta on Saturday. If I had it my way, I’d watch nothing but that for the entire postseason.
OK, so let’s set the stage. Let’s do it just like the selection committee will do it. That is, let’s start with the least dramatic team and go to the most dramatic.
No suspense here. For all the jokes about Alabama not playing anyone, let’s not dismiss how the Tide beat 5 teams that are in the current Top 25. Bring that up to anyone who wants to talk about The Citadel. For the fifth time in as many years, Alabama will be in the Playoff. That much we know.
As for who they’ll face, we’ll get to that.
The Tigers are almost repeating what they did in 2015. The Tigers earned the No. 1 seed that year after going 13-0 en route to their first Playoff berth. They didn’t earn the No. 2 seed that year, but they did almost feel like they were second fiddle to Alabama. That’s the case this year.
Even though Clemson beat an unranked Pitt team after what’s been an awful year for the ACC, the Tigers have been so dominant all year that they’re not in any jeopardy of dropping. Now for whether the Tigers had a loss to give, that was a different discussion. They only have wins against a pair of Top-25 teams.
But nah, Clemson is locked into the No. 2 seed.
3. Notre Dame
No, I don’t care that Notre Dame didn’t have a conference championship. The Irish went 12-0 with wins against 10 Power 5 teams. Don’t trick yourself into thinking that the Irish needed a conference title to solidify their résumé.
Plus, the selection committee has been pretty clear about its plans for Notre Dame all year. The Irish have wins against more current Top-25 teams than Clemson, though not quite as dominant. That’ll set up the Clemson-Notre Dame matchup in the 2-3, which I think will be played in the Cotton Bowl. But I’ll get to that more later.
The Irish finally crashed the Power 5 party, and as long as they don’t repeat their 2012 National Championship performance, nobody will complain about that. At least they shouldn’t.
Yeah. Sorry, Georgia.
The Sooners are going to make the field for a few reasons. One of which being that they won Saturday, and are now 1-loss conference champs. Georgia is neither of those things. The selection committee, I believe, will put heavy consideration into that.
I also believe the selection committee won’t want to make Alabama run it back and play against Georgia again. That wouldn’t be fair to the No. 1 overall seed, especially after we saw them play Saturday. Putting UGA into the Playoff would essentially make Saturday’s game meaningless.
In my opinion, the Dawgs are one of the best 4 teams in the country. Will that matter to the selection committee? No because Oklahoma’s résumé will still be enough for the selection committee. The fact that Oklahoma kept a high-powered Texas offense at bay was an improvement.
The Sooners would have been a fascinating study had they won 48-45 Saturday because that would’ve been the fifth consecutive game that they allowed 40-plus points.
That didn’t happen, though. What did happen was Oklahoma and its electrifying quarterback delivered a solid closing argument in its 11th game against a Power 5 team. And its defense made several critical plays.
Would Georgia be the tougher matchup for Alabama? Probably. That, however, isn’t the only way to measure this. Kyler Murray vs. Tua Tagovailoa is happening. Well, or maybe Murray vs. Hurts.
There’s another interesting question that we can all debate.